Jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the case
Bill Cosby‘s sexual assault trial ended in a mistrial today (June 17).
The comedian and actor was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former sports director at Temple University, in her home in Philadelphia in 2004. Cosby denied the allegations, which amounted to three felony indecent sexual assault charges.
Throughout the trial, 13 witnesses protested at Montgomery County Courthouse, just outside Philadelphia. Constand herself was questioned on the stand for seven hours. Cosby did not testify in his defense.
Jurors began deliberating late on Monday (June 12), as Vulture reports. They debated the verdict for a total of 52 hours, but had on Thursday (June 15) announced they could not break a deadlock in the vote. Judge Steven O’Neill told them to return to their deliberations where they “must agree unanimously” on a verdict.
However, at 10am this morning the jury returned again saying they could not break the deadlock and the trial was ended as a mistrial. The judge said the jury had performed “one of the most courageous acts” he had seen in the justice system, adding he would “forever hold you dear in my heart”.
Prosecutors in the case have since confirmed they will retry Cosby on the same counts. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele told reporters at a press conference: “It’s really a do-over. As the court indicted just because a verdict was not reached in one case does not mean it won’t be reached the second time around.
“This is a case about drug-fuelled sexual assault,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter what you look like or who you are. Our job is to follow the evidence where it take us. You can’t put a price tag on justice. Nobody is above the law.”
Steele also confirmed Constand had agreed to co-operate with his office. There is no set date for the retrial to begin as yet.
Camille Cosby, wife of the accused, issued a statement in response to the mistrial. “How do I describe the District Attorney? Heinously and exploitatively ambitious,” she wrote. “How do I describe the judge? Overtly and arrogantly collaborating with the District Attorney.”
She continued: “Historically, people have challenged injustices. I am grateful to any of the jurors who tenaciously fought to review the evidence; which is the rightful way to make a sound decision….ultimately that is a manifestation of justice, based on facts, not lies. As a very special friend once stated, “truth can be subdued, but not destroyed.”
Cosby is also set to face a civil suit in California later this month. He is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl at the Playboy mansion in 1974.